I got home a little less than a week ago. The transition has proven tricky thus far. After a tearful goodbye with the kiddos, a lot of plane rides, and some seriously good pizza in Chicago with my friend Tom, I arrived in humid, beautiful Honolulu. And it didn’t quite feel like home. To hug my family and be in my peaceful cozy room, play Explosions in the Sky while reading my bible with candles lit from my warm comfy bed with a belly full of spicy ahi was pretty incredible, don’t get me wrong. I just felt like in the midst of everything material I had just gained; I had lost some huge intangible part of myself.
In addition to the overwhelming spread that is America during Christmas season, I have had to come back to MY abundance of things I don’t need. The past few days have mostly been purging, cleaning, unpacking and repacking, eating (the doctor yelled at my weight lost, so I have been happily eating whole grain bagels, eggs, pasta, hummus, carrots, pomegranates, yogurt, spinach salads, chocolate, and everything else I missed since my return), and a lot of talking to my mom, Jeronimo, and Jesus about everything that is going on in my brain.
I know I will slowly adjust, learn to not cry in grocery stores and be comfortable in a coffee shop. But it would be a tragedy to revert back to life as usual here, to not let what I saw change me...
I hate ripe bananas. Few people outside of those who live in my household know this, but I really detest them. My mom makes it a point to get the greenest bananas at the grocery store. I eat them as soon as they are able to peel. I just prefer the lighter flavor, and the texture of ripe bananas just freaks me out, the brown spots, the mush, the smell. Gross.
Whilst in Uganda, however, I learned to eat ripe and even slightly rotten bananas. Fresh fruit was at times really hard to come by, and for that reason I forced myself to eat them. And after a month or two, I actually grew to enjoy them. I didn’t mind the brown spots or the intense flavor or the mush. I knew that I was eating something my body wasn’t getting enough of, and that along with eating nothing else but rice and beans, made mushy bananas pretty exciting.
That’s what I learned in Africa. To eat mushy bananas. To be grateful. To smile and enjoy, not in a grin-and-bear it kind of way, but in a genuine joy for each breath and whatever else comes with it. To thank God for everything.
Nothing will ever be perfect.
People will keep giving up real relationships for relationships with their iPhones and spend more money on their coffee annually than on folks in need. Churches will focus more on their Christmas program than on orphans and widows. Uncles will keep raping their nieces without anyone trying to stop them. Kids will keep dying of malaria. Moms will still die in childbirth all alone.
But not all people, churches, uncles, kids and moms.
Light bulbs are being turned on, bibles are being opened, and the love and desire for possessions forgotten.
The scales are falling, you see. Simplicity, kindness, thankfulness and love are being rooted in selfish sassy girls like me. And because of that, because of the grace of God turning our insecure messes of selves into vessels of His love, the world is going to change.
Well, I am no longer in Africa. This will be my last post. Thank you so much anyone and everyone who took the time to read what I wrote here. Blessings!